• Christine

The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame – The 2020 Nominee Class!

Updated: Mar 21

The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inducted its first class in 1986. Since then, hundreds of artists have been inducted. Some of those inductees – Prince, Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Chuck Berry – are no brainers. Others – Janet Jackson, Green Day, Herb Alpert – may make you scratch your head.


There is no doubt that the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame has had its share of controversy about who is – and isn’t – in. Every year the class of nominees is announced, and every year people question the list. The 2020 list of nominees is no exception.


In this post you will learn more about the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and how the nomination and voting process works. I’ll also take a look at all 15 of the 2020 nominees and share my thoughts on each of them. Who do I think will get in? Who do I think should get in? Keep reading to find out!


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WHAT IS THE ROCK & ROLL HALL OF FAME?

The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Foundation was formed in 1983. Ahmet Ertegun, Atlantic Records co-founder and chairman, gathered together several music industry friends (Rolling Stone publisher Jann Wenner, Bruce Springsteen manager Jon Landau, attorney Suzan Evans, and record executives Seymour Stein and Bob Krasnow) to form the foundation.


In January of 1986, the first class of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame was inducted. That first class consisted of: Chuck Berry, James Brown, Ray Charles, Sam Cooke, Fats Domino, The Everly Brothers, Buddy Holly, Jerry Lee Lewis, Little Richard, and Elvis Presley.


The museum that houses the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame is located in Cleveland, Ohio and first opened its doors on September 2, 1995.


HOW DOES THE NOMINATION PROCESS WORK?

Each year the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Foundation’s nominating committee selects the nominees for consideration for the “performer category”. Ballots are sent out to more than 1,000 people, who then vote on the nominees. Those voters include members of the music industry and artists, including every living Rock Hall of Fame inductee. The top 5 vote getters are then inducted.


Several years ago, the Rock Hall of Fame allowed the fans to get into the voting action. Fans can vote for up to 5 nominated artists per day on line. The 5 artists that get the most fan votes get one “fan vote ballot” that is tallied in with the other 1000+ that go out.


SO WHO IS ELIGIBLE?

In order to be nominated, it must be 25 years since the artist released their first record. According the the Rock Hall of Fame website, the inductees must demonstrate “unquestionable musical excellence and talent” and “have had a significant impact on the development, evolution, and preservation of rock & roll”.


BUT SOME OF THESE ARTISTS AREN’T ROCK & ROLL ARTISTS?

One of the biggest criticisms the Rock Hall of Fame gets is that many of the artists aren’t considered “rock” artists. Even in this year’s nominating class, artists like Whitney Houston and The Notorious B.I.G. are certainly not rock. Several others are clearly questionable.


From the Rock Hall of Fame’s point of view, it’s very difficult to define what is and is not rock music. In my opinion, they would be better off just calling this the Music Hall of Fame. There is no denying that artists like Prince and Aretha Franklin belong to be in the Hall of Fame. But, there is also no denying that they are not rock artists.


THE 2020 NOMINEE CLASS

So, who is up for nomination this year and who should get in? Here are the 15 artists in alphabetical order and my thoughts on each.


PAT BENATAR

Pat Benatar

Pat Benatar

Eligible Since: 2004


Number of Nominations: 1


Why She Should Be In: Pat Benatar is a pioneer for women in rock. Her signature hits include “Hit Me With Your Best Shot“, “We Belong‘ and “Invincible“. She is a four-time Grammy winner. Benatar has had 2 multi-platinum albums, 5 platinum albums, 3 gold albums and 15 Top 40 hits. The Rock Hall of Fame wants more women inductees, and Benatar is one of the most notable and influential women in rock.


Will She Get In: I think she’s a shoo-in. She’s currently leading the fan vote and no one can deny that she’s a rock legend.


DAVE MATTHEWS BAND

DMB

Dave Matthews Band

Eligible Since: 2018


Number of Nominations: 1


Why They Should Be In: With the release of their latest album, Come Tomorrow, DMB is the first band to have 7 consecutive albums debut at number 1. DMB is known for its live shows. Over their nearly 30 year history, they have toured relentlessly and have a huge, dedicated and rabid fan base.


Will They Get In: I think DMB’s time will come, but I’m not sure it’s this year with this nominating class. Their fans are dedicated though, and if they end up near the top of the fan vote, that might influence the rest of the voters.


DEPECHE MODE

Depeche Mode

Depeche Mode

Eligible Since: 2006


Number of Nominations: 3


Why They Should Be In: Depeche Mode may not be your kind of music, but you can’t deny the influence this band has had on countless other bands. They’ve sold more than 100 million records worldwide. They’ve had 54 songs hit the UK Top Singles Chart. VH1 included them in their “100 Greatest Artists of All Time” list and Billboard named them the 10th most successful dance club artist of all time.


Will They Get In: They absolutely should and I believe this might finally be their year. Third time is a charm!


THE DOOBIE BROTHERS

The Doobie Brothers

Eligible Since: 1996


Number of Nominations: 1


Why They Should Be In: The Doobie Brothers saw most of their fame in the 1970s with hits like “Listen To The Music” and “Long Train Runnin“. The band was probably most known when Michael McDonald served as lead singer from 1975 to 1982. They have sold over 40 million records.


Will They Get In: While their longevity says a lot, I’m not sure I feel like they have made a big enough mark to be Hall of Fame worthy. My guess is this is a no this year.


WHITNEY HOUSTON

Whitney Houston

Whitney Houston

Eligible Since: 2009


Number of Nominations: 1


Why She Should Be In: Whitney Houston is one of those artists that clearly are not “rock” artists. But, her impact on pop music is unquestioned. She is one of the best-selling artists of all time, selling over 200 million records. During her career, she release 7 studio albums and 2 soundtracks, all of which went diamond, multi-platinum, platinum or gold.


Will She Get In: I think Houston’s record sales and popularity during her short career guarantee she gets in. Plus, the story line alone of who will induct her and who will perform her songs at the induction ceremony will make for great headlines, which the Rock Hall of Fame loves.


JUDAS PRIEST

Judas Priest

Judas Priest

Eligible Since: 1999


Number of Nominations: 2


Why They Should Be In: If you are into heavy metal, you know that Judas Priest is one of the greatest and most influential heavy metal bands of all time. In fact, they are often ranked as one of the greatest metal bands ever. Judas Priest formed in 1969 and have continued to be successful. They won a Grammy award in 2010 and their music has been featured in video games like Guitar Hero.


Will They Get In: Yes and they absolutely deserve it! This should be a no brainer.


KRAFTWERK

Kraftwerk

Kraftwerk

Eligible Since: 1995


Number of Nominations: 6


Why They Should Be In: Kraftwerk is not a band you know if you are just a casual music fan. But, they happen to be one of the most influential bands of all time. Out of Germany, Kraftwerk is a pioneer in electronic music. In 2014, they received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.


Will They Get In: I really hope so. I’ve seen some DMB fans say that DMB is long overdue to get in. Kraftwerk is LONG overdue!


MC5

MC5

MC5

Eligible Since: 1991


Number of Nominations: 5


Why They Should Be In: MC5 is another band that you may not have heard of, particularly if you were born after 1972. The band formed in 1964 and had a ton of promise, but they broke up after only a few years in 1972. Outside of their song “Kick-Out The Jams“, which is heavily covered still today, they didn’t have a lot of commercial success. However, many people regard their three albums as classics, and they are often cited as one of the most influential hard rock bands ever.


Will They Get In: This one is tough. While there is no doubt they were influential, I don’t know if their resume is strong enough. I’m going to have to go with a no.


MOTORHEAD

Motorhead

Motorhead

Eligible Since: 2002


Number of Nominations: 1


Why They Should Be In: Motorhead has released 22 studio albums, 10 live recordings, 12 compilation albums, and 5 EPs over their 40 year career. They had their biggest success in the 1980’s when they had several singles in the UK Top 40 Charts. They are often regarded as one of the greatest hard rock bands of all time.


Will They Get In: I think Motorhead should and will get in this year. If Motorhead and Whitney Houston both get in, this could be the year of the posthumous induction ceremony with all three members of the classic Motorhead line up already deceased.


NINE INCH NAILS

Nine Inch Nails

Nine Inch Nails

Eligible Since: 2014


Number of Nominations: 3


Why They Should Be In: At the end of the day, NIN is Trent Reznor and Reznor is one of the most talented musicians in modern music today. As NIN, they have sold over 20 million records. They have been nominated for 13 Grammy’s and won twice. Individually, Reznor has written a number of scores for films. He won an Academy Award for the score for the film “The Social Network” and won a Grammy for the score of “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo”.


Will They Get In: They absolutely should get in and I believe they will this year.


THE NOTORIOUS B.I.G.

The Notorious B.I.G.

The Notorious B.I.G.

Eligible Since: 2019


Number of Nominations: 1


Why He Should Be In: Biggie is often considered the greatest rapper of all time. He brought attention to East Coast hip hop at a time when everyone was focused on the West Coast. In fact, Biggie was central to the East Coast and West Coast hip hop feud. It was rumored that Biggie was involved in the shooting of Tupac Shakur. Biggie was shot in Los Angeles in 1997.

Will He Get In: Not this year for sure. I get that he was a great rapper, and maybe that eventually overtakes the other parts of his life and legacy. But not this year.


RUFUS FEATURING CHAKA KHAN

Rugus

Rufus featuring Chaka Khan

Eligible Since: 1999


Number of Nominations: 4


Why they Should Be In: I’ll admit it. I had to look up who in the world Rufus was. I know Chaka Khan (I did grow up in the 80s), but I had no idea who Rufus was. Turns out they are a funk band out of Chicago that launched the career of Chaka Khan. Rufus had 4 consecutive number one R&B albums, ten Top 10 Pop Hits, and 5 number one R&B singles over their career.


Will They Get In: I have to say no to this one. Admittedly, I’m not familiar with them at all. I’m not saying that I am an authority on all things music, but if I’ve never even heard of them, they must not have been terribly influential.


TODD RUNDGREN

Todd Rundgren

Todd Rundgren

Eligible Since: 1995


Number of Nominations: 2


Why He Should Be In: Todd Rundgren is a singer, songwriter and record producer. He also plays multiple instruments. Rundgren produced music videos and was a pioneer of technology and music, being one of the first artists to use the Internet as a way of distributing music. His 1983 single – “Bang The Drum All Day” – can often be heard at sports events and in commercials.


Will He Get In: I hope so. While he may not have the record sales and hits that some of the other nominees have, he’s done a lot for the music industry as a whole. Even if a lot of it was behind the scenes.


SOUNDGARDEN

Soundgarden

Soundgarden

Eligible Since: 2011


Number of Nominations: 1


Why They Should Be In: Soundgarden was part of the grunge movement that came out of Seattle in the 90’s. Of course Soundgarden might be best known for their lead singer – Chris Cornell. Soundgarden was one of the first grunge bands to sign with a major record label. And while they didn’t have the commercial success of some of their peers like Pearl Jam and Nirvana, they still sold over 25 million records world-wide and had the Grammy-winning hits “Spoonman” and “Black Hole Sun“.


Will They Get In: I love Soundgarden, but I honestly don’t think they are HOF worthy. This nomination feels more like a “Chris Cornell” nomination to me than a band that has a resume that justifies a nod.


T. REX

T. Rex

T. Rex (Photo by Evening Standard/Getty Images)

Eligible Since: 1993


Number of Nominations: 1


Why They Should Be In: T. Rex were pioneers in glam rock. During the early 70’s, their popularity in the UK rivaled that of The Beatles. Between 1970 and 1973, they had 11 songs in the UK top ten. Their 1971 album – Electric Warrior – is often said to have pioneered glam rock. Marc Bolan, who was the founder and consistent member of the band, died in a car crash in 1977, which cut the band’s career short.


Will They Get In: Although their career was short, they were huge influences on a lot of bands. This nomination is long overdue and they should be in.


THIN LIZZY

Thin Lizzy

Thin Lizzy

Eligible Since: 1996


Number of Nominations: 1


Why They Should Be In: Thin Lizzy recorded 12 studio albums over their career. Their biggest hit – “The Boys Are Back In Town” – is one of those songs that almost everyone knows. Thin Lizzy lead singer and co-founder – Phil Lynott – wrote most of the band’s songs. Lynott was the first black Irishman to achieve commercial success in rock music. Lynott died in 1986.


Will They Get In: While they were a great band who pushed boundaries in many ways, I don’t think they are quite HOF material. I definitely don’t see them getting in the first time they’ve been nominated with the rest of this class.


So there you have it. Who do I think the five nominees will be? I think the shoo-ins are Pat Benatar, Depeche Mode, Whitney Houston and Judas Priest. I think the fifth spot could go to either Kraftwerk, Motorhead, or Nine Inch Nails. But, we’ll have to wait until January to see who the lucky inductees will be. Check back to see if I was right!


Who are your Rock Hall of Fame favorites? Who do you think should be inducted into the Hall of Fame? Let us know! Comment below or e-mail me at tips2livebywriter@gmail.com.


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